US Stocks End at Fresh Records on Vaccine Progress, Extending Rally

NYSE
  • US equities began the session in the red in a sign a post-election rally may be starting to lose steam. But stocks gained throughout the day after a mixed session in Europe.
  • Britain made a gesture of good faith by withdrawing controversial elements of a legislative package concerning the future border in Ireland.
  • Investors also have been cheered by the impending stock market debuts of Airbnb and Doordash, which are poised to take advantage of investor hunger for young businesses promising fast growth, especially amid lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic.
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

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NEW YORK — Wall Street stocks shook off early weakness and finished at fresh records again Tuesday, boosted by progress on coronavirus vaccines and anticipation of stock offerings by Airbnb and DoorDash.

US equities began the session in the red in a sign a post-election rally may be starting to lose steam. But stocks gained throughout the day after a mixed session in Europe.

Sentiment has been boosted by major COVID-19 vaccine announcements that have lifted confidence about the potential for a strong economic recovery in 2021 and offset worries about the near-term pain as the US contends with soaring coronavirus case counts that have led to new restrictions.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday issued a positively-worded briefing document saying the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, raising expectations the regulator is poised to grant emergency approval.

Also Tuesday, AstraZeneca became the first COVID-19 vaccine maker to publish final-stage clinical trial data in a scientific journal, confirming the vaccine works in an average of 70 percent of cases.

Investors also have been cheered by the impending stock market debuts of Airbnb and Doordash, which are poised to take advantage of investor hunger for young businesses promising fast growth, especially amid lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic.

“Whenever you have companies that people use in their daily life, that usually draws interest from retail investors,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Brexit Talks Tamp Down Pound

Elsewhere, the pound slumped for a second day running amid ongoing uncertainty over post-Brexit trade talks.

Britain made a gesture of good faith by withdrawing controversial elements of a legislative package concerning the future border in Ireland.

EU member state Ireland said a pact between the sides on post-Brexit Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, offered some hope for a broader trade deal, even if neither London nor Brussels was particularly optimistic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was preparing to travel to Brussels later this week for talks.

With the two sides divided over fishing rights, rules for fair trade, and an enforcement mechanism for regulatory standards, there is a growing fear a deal will not be done before the December 31 deadline. 

Meanwhile, the yen dipped against the dollar after Japan’s government approved more than $700 billion in fresh stimulus to fund projects from anti-coronavirus measures to green tech, while the euro climbed on data showing German investor confidence rebounded in December.

Key Figures (2150 GMT)

New York – Dow: UP  percent at 30,173.88 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 3,702.25 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 12,582.77 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 6,558.82 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 13,278.49 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,560.67 (close)

EURO STOXX 50:  DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,525.87 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 26,467.08 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 26,304.56 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,410.18 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3354 from $1.3380 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 90.63 pence from 90.50 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2104  from $1.2109

Dollar/yen: UP at 104.16 yen from 104.05

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $45.60 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.1 percent at $48.84 per barrel

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AFP, Image by Peter Kaminski

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